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271 U.S.

99
46 S.Ct. 439
70 L.Ed. 854

GREAT NORTHERN RY. CO.


v.
GALBREATH CATTE CO. et al.
No. 138.
Argued Jan. 15, 1926.
Decided April 19, 1926.

Under Judicial Code, 28, 29 (Comp. St. 1010, 1011), if any ground
of petition for removal to federal court is well taken, it is error for state
court to deny petition and proceed further with case.
Whether case is one arising under the laws of United States, as affects
right of removal to federal court, is determinable from statement of cause
of action in complaint.
Where cattle were shipped in interstate commerce under bills of lading
issued under Carmack Amendment (Comp. St. 8604a, 8604aa), and
allegedly injured through carrier's unreasonable delay and failure to
unload, as required by Act June 29, 1906, (Comp. St. 8651), held,
action for damages was one arising under the laws of the United States, as
affected right of removal to federal court, under Judicial Code, 28
(Comp. St. 1010).
Action between citizens of different states, within Judicial Code, 24
(Comp. St. 991), was removable to federal court under section 28
(Comp. St. 1010), though, as matter of venue, action could not have been
brought originally in court to which removal was sought.
Mr. J. Parker Veazey, Jr., of Great Falls, Mont., for petitioner.
Mr. Samuel Herrick, of Washington, D. C., for respondents.
Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was an action begun in a state court in Montana to recover for injuries to
cattle shipped by railroad in interstate commerce. In due time the defendant
presented a verified petition, accompanied by a proper bond with good and
sufficient surety, for the removal of the case into the federal District Court for
Montana; but the state court denied the petition, accorded the defendant an
exception, and proceeded to the disposal of the case on the merits. After a trial
it gave judgment for the plaintiffs, which the Supreme Court of the state
affirmed after a part of the damages awarded was remitted. 213 P. 610, 66
Mont. 198; 227 P. 65, 71 Mont. 56; Rev. Code Mont. 1921, 9748. The case is
here on writ of certiorari.

One of the rulings assigned for error in the Supreme Court of the state was the
denial of the petition for removal; but that court held that the case was not
removable and sustained the ruling. It was to review the decision on this point
that certiorari was granted.

The material allegations of the plaintiffs' complaint were to the following


effect: One of the plaintiffs is a corporate citizen of Montana and the other is an
individual citizen of Wyoming; while the defendant is a corporate citizen of
Minnesota. The cattle were shipped from Cody, Wyo., to Seville, Mont., on a
through bill of lading over two connecting lines of railroad, the second being
owned and operated by the defendant. The plaintiffs owned the cattle, were
both consignors and consignees of the shipment, and were the lawful holders of
the bill of lading. The cattle were injured while in transit over the defendant's
road by the defendant's action in unreasonably delaying and carelessly handling
them, and wrongfully omitting to unload them, when necessary, in a humane
manner into properly equipped pens for rest, water, and feeding-the resulting
damages to the plaintiffs being upwards of $30,000.

The petition for removal, besides showing the presence of the requisite
jurisdictional amount and the defendant's nonresidence in the state where sued,
asserted a right of removal on two grounds: First, that the case was one arising
under the laws of the United States, particularly those applying to the shipment
of cattle by railroad in interstate commerce; and, secondly, that the case was
between citizens of different states.

If either ground was well taken, the case was removable (Judicial Code, 28
(Comp. St. 1010); General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore & Michigan
Southern Ry. Co., 43 S. Ct. 106, 260 U. S. 261, 271, et seq., 67 L. Ed. 244; Lee
v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co., 43 S. Ct. 230, 260 U. S. 653, 67 L. Ed. 443),
and the state court erred in denying the petition and proceeding further with the
case (Judicial Code, 29 (Comp. St. 1011); New Orleans, Mobile & Texas R.

R. Co. v. Mississippi, 102 U. S. 135, 141, 26 L. Ed. 96; National Steamship


Co. v. Tugman, 1 S. Ct. 58, 106 U. S. 118, 122, 27 L. Ed. 87.
6

Whether the first ground was well taken is to be determined from the plaintiffs'
statement in the complaint of their cause of action. According to that statement
the cause of action was for injuries to cattle resulting from the defendant's
negligent and wrongful nonperformance of duties devolving on it as a second
and connecting carrier while the cattle were being transported over its road on a
through bill of lading, including the duty to unload them for needed rest, water,
and feeding. The bill of lading was issued under a law of Congress (Carmack
Amendment, c. 3591, 7, 34 Stat. 593, 595 (Comp. St. 8604a, 8604aa), and
governed the entire transportation-that over the defendant's line as well as that
over the line of the initial carrier (Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. Ward,
37 S. Ct. 617, 244 U. S. 383, 387, 61 L. Ed. 1213). And the carriers' duties in
respect of unloading the cattle 'in a humane manner into properly equipped
pens for rest, water and feeding' were prescribed by a law of Congress (chapter
3594, 34 Stat. 607 (Comp. St. 8651)). So it is apparent that the case stated in
the complaint was one arising under the laws of the United States. Cincinnati,
etc., Ry. Co. v. Rankin, 36 S. Ct. 555, 241 U. S. 319, 326, 60 L. Ed. 1022, L.
R. A. 1917A, 265; St. Louis, etc., Ry. Co. v. Starbird, 37 S. Ct. 462, 243 U. S.
592, 595, 61 L. Ed. 917; Southern Pacific Co. v. Stewart, 38 S. Ct. 130, 245 U.
S. 359, 62 L. Ed. 345; Id., 38 S. Ct. 203, 245 U. S. 562, 62 L. Ed. 472; same
case, 39 S. Ct. 138, 248 U. S. 446, 63 L. Ed. 350. And see Macon Grocery Co.
v. Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co., 30 S. Ct. 184, 215 U. S. 501, 507, 54 L. Ed.
300.

It also is apparent, from the complaint and the petition for removal, that the
case was one between citizens of different states in the sense of the statute
defining the general jurisdiction of the federal District Courts. Judicial Code,
24 (Comp. St. 991). The words of that statute are:

'Shall have original jurisdiction * * * of all suits of a civil nature * * * where


the matter in controversy exceeds, exclusive of interests and costs, the sum or
value of three thousand dollars, and * * * is between citizens of different states.'

This was such a case. The amount in controversy exceeded the requirement,
and the plaintiffs were citizens of states other than the one of which the
defendant was a citizen. Sweeney v. Carter Oil Co., 26 S. Ct. 55, 199 U. S. 252,
256, 50 L. Ed. 178. And as the case was begun in a court of a state of which the
defendant was a nonresident, it came plainly within the provision for the
removal of cases on the ground of diverse citizenship. Judical Code, 28. In
concluding otherwise the state cours conceived that they were following Smith

v. Lyon, 10 S. Ct. 303, 133 U. S. 315, 33 L. Ed. 635, and Camp v. Gress, 39 S.
Ct. 478, 250 U. S. 308, 63 L. Ed. 997. But they misapprehended the question
involved in theose cases. Both were begun in a federal court, and both were
recognized as falling within the general jurisdiction of those courts. The
question in each was one of venue-whether the case could be maintained in the
court of a particular district against the defendant's objection. That question was
answered in the negative. In Camp v. Gress the court was careful to point out
the difference in purpose and operation between the statutory provision
defining the general jurisdiction of the federal District Courts and the provision
dealing with venue. And in General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore & Michigan
Southern Ry. Co., supra, and Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co., supra, this
court again pointed out that difference, and also that the venue provision
respecting suits begun in those courts has no application to suits removed into
them from state courts. The difference between the original removal statute of
1789 (chapter 20, 12, 1 Stat. 79), to which the state courts gave some
attention, and the present statute was shown in the last paragraph of the opinion
in Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co., supra, and does not call for further
comment here.
10

We are of opinion that the state court of first instance should have given effect
to the petition for removal, and had declined to proceed further in the case, and
that the appellate court should have reversed the judgment, with a direction that
that be done.

11

Judgment reversed.